As someone who loves to fangirl my favorite actors/singers/anime/etc. in peace, I try my best not to be involved in any fan wars. I understand that the bigger the actor/singer/anime/etc. is, it is more likely to have more people joining the fandom, and thus it’s possible to have more “toxic” fans. But, well, before we talk about it further, maybe we need to understand the same definitions? A fan war in my understanding is the war between fans who idolize different actor/singer/anime/etc., seeking to justify their fandomship (is this even a word? LoL) and wanting to be recognized and acknowledged that their “idol” is the best and that the others are less. For example, the fans of Naruto are fighting with the fans of Bleach, or the fans of Actor X is fighting with the fans of Actor Y, or the fans of Singer A is fighting with the fans of singer B, etc. all in the name of putting their respective idol on the highest pedestal of the worship. Meanwhile, toxic fans in my understanding are those who are often engaged in this kind of fan wars by attacking other idols and their fans often by saying bad things about them and even using ad-hominem attacks that actually have nothing to do with the fandomship, attacking people that they might not even know, just because they fangirl over different thing/person. Also, this is my personal opinion: toxic fans for me are also those who demand and expect so much-if not too much-from their idols that they became super obsessive and feel entitled to decide what is good for them and brutally hate the idols when they “fail to meet” their expectation. For example, idol A is rumored to be dating and they start hating him because they don’t want A to be dating. Toxic fans also include those who feel (more) superior towards other fans either because they started first or have bought more merchandise or been to more concerts, etc. For me, this kind of fan is arguably toxic. Well, of course there are toxic fans in every fandom. Just like there are good fans, there are “bad” fans as well, but I guess there is a difference between a fandom with more good fans and a fandom in which the toxic fans seem to outnumber the good ones. But, well, let’s go to this fanwar thing and why I kinda “hate” it.
First of all, I understand that fangirling or idolizing can mean a lot to someone. It can be their escape from the life (and the problems) they have in reality. It can be their only entertainment, one that can make them feel worthy and happy. In some cases, it can be the reason they hang on to life, despite all the bad things they have to go through. I might have said this before, but there’s really nothing wrong to fangirl over something or someone. While we might not like the same thing, I do know how it feels to love something to that extreme extent. You read news about them, you’ll be happy. You hear they say something, you’ll be excited. And you won’t get the same feelings if the same thing is done by others you don’t idolize. I know it all too well. Hence, when I see someone, even when excessively, expresses their fangirling emotions, I’m pretty chill with that. I don’t blame them. I try not to judge them. I won’t say they’re being outrageous. Well, perhaps because I know that sometimes I am like them too.
Second of all, I understand that it hurts a lot when people start saying bad things about the ones we love. Indirectly, we feel as if they are saying bad things about us or judging us for loving them. Again, we don’t like to be wrong; we love to be right. We want to be acknowledged that there’s nothing wrong in loving our idol. We want to be understood that this idol of ours is worth our love, time, emotion, and so forth. We want others to recognize how “great” our idol is the way we see them. Well, at least, no matter how trashy it might be, we still want them to try to understand and at least respect how meaningful it is to and for us.
Third of all, we don’t need others’ justification, recognition, or acknowledgment over what or who we love. And this is important to discern if we want to avoid a fanwar. Well, I think people get engaged in fan wars not because they’re actually defending their idols, but more because they’re feeding their own ego. They are not actually defending their idols, they’re just being defensive over why they love their idols. And they love to compete. They want to be the best, and they want others to acknowledge that their idol is the best, not to mention that they look down on other idols and their fans. And I don’t think this is necessary. Indeed, I think it’s bad.
I mean, when we love something or someone, we already think and believe that they are the best – for us. Personally for me, they don’t have to be the best for others too. If others love them too, for sure I’ll be more than happy. But if they don’t, I’m okay with that. After all, I have my own reason as to why I like what/who I like, and I believe that this reason is valid and I don’t need others’ opinion to validify, legitimize, or justify that. I need none of that. That’s why I won’t get mad if my favorite actor doesn’t get an award. I won’t be upset if my favorite singer is not nominated for an award. I’m cool even when my favorite manga or anime is not ranked as the most popular, etc. Well, yeah of course I might be disappointed (and perhaps I used to be mad as well). After all, I want my “idols” to be happy and I think if they get those awards they must be happy too. But I won’t go as far as to blame others for not nominating my idols or for not granting them the awards they deserve. Because, well, I don’t need all of that to love my idols. I love them, and that’s what matters.
Hence, rather than saying that my idols have the best vocals, visuals, etc. whatsoever, I’d rather say, “Even if they’re not the best at it all, I still love them for the way they are, because it’s the combination of everything that makes me love them.” This way I don’t feel the need to compete or be engaged in any fan wars, because, well, what for? Also, I want to be the kind of fan my idols can be proud of. I want to be “their image”. For this, I feel the need to act civilized, be polite, considerate, and respectful towards other idols and their fans. However, I know liking or disliking and even hating someone is sometimes inevitable. Hence, if I don’t like a certain celebrity, the least I can do is that I simply don’t care about them and leave them be. I don’t have much time for the things I don’t like or hate. I’d rather spend my time for the ones that I love.
Speaking of which, you know I love Lee Dong Wook, One Piece, Ikuta Toma, etc. When I first realized I love them, I have no idea that they have big names actually. Quite the contrary, when I first loved Lee Dong Wook, many of my friends actually wondered why because there seemed to be more popular names like Lee Min Ho, Gong Yoo, etc. But, hey, look, I feel like Lee Dong Wook’s name is getting bigger now, and I feel really happy for that. But even if he’s not as big as now, I’ll still love him.
The same thing happens with One Piece. I lowkey had no idea that One Piece is really popular and sells the most. When I first knew it is the number-one best-selling manga of all time, I felt really proud and happy. On one side, I feel small because I’m sure there are more dedicated and devoted fans who know more about One Piece and perhaps buy more One Piece stuff. On the other side, I feel happy that the thing that I love is recognized, acknowledged as great, and loved by many.
However, I constantly remind myself to be humble and down to earth, to not say bad things about other manga, anime, or artists because, well, I don’t want to be the reason people hate the thing that I love. I also do the same with my other idols, no matter how “great” they are and no matter how much they have achieved. I just don’t want people to hate them because of me. Well, let’s admit it. Sometimes people hate a celebrity not because they hate the celebrity themselves per se but because they hate their fans’ (attitude). I know there’s this one group that often gets on my nerves because I don’t like their fans who often over-glorify them by badmouthing, underestimating, and looking down on other groups. I find it sickening, really. But then I realize that this group has never wronged me, so I should not hate them. Hence, for the peace of my mind, I just avoid everything about them and, of course, especially their fans.
And, actually, sometimes I wish that my idols won’t be so “great” just so I can fangirl them in peace. I’m so insecure that I’m worried if their name gets bigger people will start comparing them to others, having too much expectation, demanding too much, competing and hence generating more toxic fans. I don’t want that. I don’t like that. But then, of course I’ll be happy if their name gets bigger and they have more fans, because I’m sure they’ll be happier too. I guess I just want the people that I love to be happy, even if I’m just a fangirl whose existence they’ll never know about.
So, well, I’m sorry for ranting here. And perhaps, you don’t really get my point since I’ve been babbling. But, I hope, if somehow you read this, you can be a better fan afterward. Let’s not say bad things about others’ idols. Let’s not make a fan war. Let’s just fangirl over our idol respectfully respectively (and separately if necessary) in peace. After all, our idol will always be the best for us, right? Happy fangirling 😊
PS: Right now I’m in love with Hey! Say! JUMP (will write about them in the next post), and I feel that the fandom is so positive and supportive. Everyone can favorite different member but we still care for one another, we don’t say bad things on one another. We even get along with those who idolize other groups other than Hey! Say! JUMP, especially those within Johnny’s management. I think it’s great that we can love one without having to hate the others. It’s wonderful to praise one without looking down on the others. Well, I know there might be some toxic fans in the fandom as well, but I guess the good fans outnumber them, so yeah, I’m happy with this fandom 🙂